MOTORSPORT

Matt Jansen Matt Jansen CREDIT: Jodie Seabright
Carl Ruiterman Carl Ruiterman CREDIT: Gray Lynskey

Rally New Zealand's high octane sideshow

Tuesday 29 March 2011, 8:20AM
By Rally New Zealand
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HAMILTON

This year Rally New Zealand’s top level rallying action is complemented by an exhilarating ‘sideshow’ called ‘High Octane on Hampton’.

“Actually it’s more like sideshow on steroids!” says Peter (PJ) Johnston, chairman of Rally New Zealand’s organising committee.

“Our High Octane on Hampton is one of the must-see motorsport events of the year!

“Not only do we have one of the strongest, most competitive line-ups for the New Zealand Rally Championship field battling for top honours during the two day rally, running alongside are two days of exciting action at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park designed to appeal to a wide range of motorsport fans,” says Johnston.

The event is based at Hampton Downs, midway between Auckland and Hamilton, where fans can watch a continuous array of motorsport over the weekend of 7 and 8 May with rally cars using the race track for three super special stages and full-on race action from muscle cars, Formula 5000s and several classic classes.

“The high octane aspect of the weekend reaches a new level with the first-ever Gymkhana X skidpan battle ever run in New Zealand,” says Johnston. “It pits top class rally drivers against the best from the world of drifting in a Ken Block-style all-out, high-speed take on the technical art of gymkhana driving. Drivers vie to set the fastest time around a course on Hampton Downs’ new skidpan – it’s going to be intense, exciting and a great spectacle to watch. We’ve got some super talented guys confirmed, like Andrew Hawkeswood, Clark Proctor, Robert van Gisbergen and our NZRC sponsor Neil Allport up against D1NZ star Carl Ruiteman and others.”

The Gymkhana X runs on Sunday 8 May, alongside drifting demonstrations from Kiwi stars like Mad Mike Whiddett, an extreme angle competition for the drifters, a lot more on-track race action and a final run of the rally cars’ super special stage. Fans can also battle their rally heroes in the GT5 virtual rally competition and check out some great displays.

Rally New Zealand includes the NZRC competitors, the Smartwood by Alpwood Possum Bourne Memorial Rally field as well as the new Rally New Zealand Historic Rally. Entries are now open and more details will be made available on these fields.

Johnston says tickets are priced to make the weekend affordable. “An adult pass on Saturday is $10 and on Sunday $25. Parking is free at the circuit, children under 12 also have free entry when accompanied by a paying adult and there’s great viewing for everyone around the circuit.

“Motorsport fans can see popular drivers like Emma Gilmour and Richard Mason in action on-track at Hampton, some of the world’s best drifters like Mad Mike courtesy of Red Bull and see an all-new event, the Gymkhana X. It’s going to be an amazing weekend!”

Fans can sign up for regular newsletters via the event’s website, www.rallynz.org.nz, and also keep up with the latest news via Rally New Zealand’s Facebook page.